If journalist Michael Wolff's book was the subject of a cease and desist letter from the White House in any other situation, he might be worried about his future. As it is, though, he's only optimistic that the president's attempts to limit the publication of his new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, will significantly boost his sales. Before you go out and buy your copy, you might be wondering what Fire and Fury is even about — and for a quick answer to that, all you need to do is what Wolff's interview on the Today show.
In the interview, Wolff told host Savannah Guthrie that his only question upon getting news of the president's attempt to stop the book's publication was to wonder where he should "send the box of chocolates." The president's antics, which Wolff stressed that Trump has repeated time and time again throughout his life, were only going to be a boon to his numbers.
"Not only is he helping me sell books," Wolff said, "but he's helping me prove the point of the book."
The point of the book, as you may have gathered, is to give an inside look at life in the Trump White House, based on hours of interviews and on-the-record conversations with Donald Trump and the people who work most closely with him.
Wolff, he said, had three main questions in his mind while he was carrying out his research in the White House. "What is it like to work with Donald Trump? How can you work with Donald Trump? And ... how do you feel having worked with Donald Trump?" Wolff told Guthrie.
Based on the excerpts from Fire and Fury that have already been released, the people who Wolff spoke to gave some pretty incredible answers to those questions. "The one description that everyone gave," Wolff said, "They all say he is like a child. And what they mean by that is that he has a need for immediate gratification. It's all about him."
This description of the president has actually been used repeatedly in the past, but some of the revelations in the book are more novel. Wolff explained, for example, that in the campaign and at the beginning of his presidency, Trump could be counted on to repeat his stories on average at least once in every half hour. Now, almost a year in, he begins repeating stories and phrases after only 10 minutes.
"I'll quote Steve Bannon," Wolff said to Guthrie. "He's lost it."
Multiple people in Trump's immediate orbit have disputed the book's veracity. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for example, called it "trashy tabloid fiction," and one of Melania Trump's aides said that it would be sold in the "bargain fiction section." Trump lawyer Charles Harder even sent a cease and desist letter to publishing house Henry Holt and Company, which only responded by saying that the publishing date would be moved up "due to unprecedented demand."
Some, however, have expressed more serious concerns about Michael Wolff's methods. Wolff has been quite vague about some of his sources, and many of the conversations he depicts in the book as having happened verbatim are virtually impossible to verify as such. Wolff has been covering the New York elite for decades now, and he's known to have a skill for pouncing on any bits of juicy gossip that he hears around him. The heavy implications of this book, though, have even fellow journalists questioning his methods. Yet, on the other hand, several of his colleagues have also rallied around him in support.
While some of the scenes depicted in Fire and Fury might be old news by now if you've been following the extreme ups and downs of the Trump administration, this book is still bound to make a serious splash. In fact, it's already done so — after only a day, it's already hit No. 1 on Amazon. What remains to be seen is how — or if — it will have a lasting impact on Trump's still young presidency.